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Published On: Fri, Feb 2nd, 2018

Colombia keeps assisting in extermination of community leaders: Carrillo

nsnbc : Fernando Carrillo, Inspector general of the office of the Ombudsman, urged the Colombian government to prioritize the protection of community leaders. Claiming they face extermination, Carrillo said Colombia keeps assisting in their extermination.

Fernando Carrillo_Colombia Ombudsman_Feb 2018Inspector General Fernando Carrillo, on Monday, stressed that the Constitutional Court had ordered the government to protect social and community leaders including human rights defenders. Carrillo commented on the current state of affairs and what he called “barbaric wave of killings” of community leaders and activists, saying:

“We keep assisting in the extermination of the social leaders in this country without, apparently, anyone caring.”

The Inspector General had travelled to the Pacific port city of Buenaventura to investigate the assassination of a prominent community leader that has outraged Colombia’s black minority.

Carrillo said disciplinary action would be taken against Buenaventura City Hall over what he described as “obvious failures” to protect local community leaders. In 2017 alone some 170 community leaders were killed in Colombia.

Most of the deaths occurred in areas formerly controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP) after its demobilization and disarmament as part of the peace accord that ended 52 years of civil war between the FARC-EP and the State. The FARC-EP been transformed into a non-militant political party registered under the acronym FARC. 36 former FARC-EP members and 13 family members have been murdered since the signing of the peace accord in December 2016.

Killings have apparently become even more frequent. The think tank Indepaz reported 21 assassinations in January 2018. The assassinations are terrorizing local communities and are often happening right under the noses of United Nations’ observers and the – arguably not very – watchful eyes of the country’s security forces.

Carrillo stressed that the violence targeting community leaders, many of them by paramilitary groups, is “strong blow against the consolidation of peace in Colombia.” It is worth noting that grassroots activists and community leaders in Colombia consistently have stressed that police and military forces often coordinate and cooperate with right-wing paramilitaries when targeting grassroots and community leaders in formerly FARC-EP controlled areas.

CH/L – nsnbc 02.02.2018

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